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Scuba driver posing under sea water

10 Takeaways From Our Talk With A Mermaid

Ehdaa Al Barwani has a message.

It’s hardly a hot take that scuba diving – like countless other sports – remains a male-dominated field, but leave it to Ehdaa Al Barwani to change the narrative, one dive at a time. The first and only female dive instructor from Oman, she earned her PADI Divemaster certification in 2018, but found herself in the spotlight last year after spontaneously taking a dive in traditional Omani attire. 

Her mission? To showcase the symbiotic relationship between her culture and ocean health, while inspiring others to join her efforts towards marine conservation. Today, she’s the founder of Muscat-based dive centre Aura Divers and often likened to a mermaid, a nickname she refers to as “endearing”. A candid conversation with this pioneering woman in honour of World Ocean Day, today, brought with it plenty of takeaways. Here are our favourites.

Spontaneity pays off.

“I have a confession about my dive in Omani attire: I didn’t plan the photos as much as people think. It was supposed to be a little series for Instagram, but I didn’t expect it to blow up as much as it did. I had two dives scheduled that day and only an hour in between. One of my students just happened to be a photographer, so I asked if he could take a few photos, but I didn’t have a set plan or anything – we just went with it. We jumped in, he took a few shots, and it was time for the second dive by the time I came back up. I didn’t have time to change, so I got my students ready and jumped back into the water for the second dive.”

Omani attire is surprisingly versatile. 

“Omani clothing is made to be versatile. Traditionally, women wore it while making fishing nets, they wore it while farming – it was a part of their daily lives. You can get the fabric to be thick enough to stay warm, but the beauty of Oman is it’s warm and we don’t have too many currents. The seas are very calm most of the time, so it wasn’t really a challenge swimming in those clothes. They were actually really comfortable – I didn’t even realise that I had an elaborate dress on. In fact, I was there, chopping away at a net I spotted.”

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. 

“There are strewn pieces of wood, plastic, and netting in the ocean and on the roads – there’s a lot of construction happening here in Oman, and wood that can be utilised is thrown out. My idea is to utilise these pieces in different sections of my boat, turning them into something that we can enjoy, that we can use. The boat came out of necessity. I own a dive centre and rent out boats, but I need one that’s comfortable for women. I need a boat with a hardtop and an all-female crew as well as a place for them to change. If I’m catering to women – especially Omani women – they need to feel safe. These are the little things that will encourage them to try diving.”

The term ‘female entrepreneur’ isn’t always sexist. 

“We’re still governed by our traditions and family values, and men and women have very set roles to play in society. In my case, terms like ‘female diver’ or ‘female entrepreneur’ help create a community, a safe space for women who are interested in scuba diving, but uncomfortable doing so around men. I understand women who’d rather keep gender out of their accomplishments, but here in Oman – where it takes courage for women to move away from what’s expected of them – it’s essential.”

We all come from water. 

“I once read that the umbilical sac is composed of salty water, so humans quite literally come from water – those are your surroundings, which is why babies are quite comfortable in the water. The panic sets in much later in life because we’ve been away from it for so long. That’s why exposure to bodies of water early in life is a must, but not enough people are. I mean, the majority of my local students have no knowledge of swimming and are quite afraid of the water. They’ve just never been exposed to water, you know? I was lucky enough to go to a private school, where I learned how to swim, which is such a privilege – that doesn’t escape me.”

Fear amongst first-time divers is normal.

“Swimming underwater does feel claustrophobic, as contradictory as that sounds – it’s all blue, especially if you go really deep. There’s almost a sense of being lost in space, but there is a little trick that helps: see where your bubbles go because they always go up. I suggest diving in shallow locations at first. Most dives are done in the morning and, with the sun shining through the water, you can see all the colours of the coral, the surface of the water, and the seabed if you need to – it helps. Go slowly, and chances are you’ll be so enthralled by everything that you’ll forget you’re going deeper. But fear is very normal, so start by snorkelling.”

The region boasts beautiful dive sites.

“It’s only when I got a job in Salalah that I realised that, unlike other Gulf countries, there were no female dive instructors in Oman. That’s when I decided to encourage more women to come into diving because they don’t know what they’re missing. Red Sea aside, Oman has the most beautiful dive sites in the Gulf. We have the Daymaniyat Islands, a natural reserve, and Bandar Al Khayran, which is still untouched. These places are so pristine, so gorgeous. But if the pandemic ended tomorrow, I’d go diving in the Red Sea. I’ve heard the visibility is phenomenal!”

How you dive affects your environmental impact.

“I teach PADI, which is heavily focused on sustainable diving. Its Project AWARE movement, for example, is rooted in education on ocean protection. And it’s because of how I was taught that I’ve implemented this aspect in my own teaching. Everything my divemaster taught me was about minimising one’s impact on the surroundings – swimming with your hands close to your body so you don’t hit anything, ensuring your fins are nice and high so you don’t damage coral reefs. Then there are the bigger things, like using cotton nets because nylon doesn’t disintegrate.”

Plastic will outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050.

“It’s not a great statistic, is it? It tells us exactly where we’re going. And when I talk about conservation, I don’t mean that we need to get to a point where there is no plastic – we’re so far down this path where every other thing we use is made out of plastic, right? But what we can do – and should do – is minimise the damage. The damage has been done, but all we can do now is slow down. Hopefully, we’ll get to a point in the future where we can get rid of it completely.”

You don’t have to dive to make a difference.

“There are different ways in which you can contribute to marine health – you can monitor your carbon footprint and track how much single-use plastic you consume. You can also opt for reef-safe sunblock, volunteer for beach clean-up sessions, and remember to be mindful of where you dispose of your rubbish. In Oman, we take the car to go the shortest of distances, so maybe cycle if you’re close by or walk to the corner store once or twice a week? There’s also this idea that, as a small population, our actions don’t make an impact. But that’s just not true – every bit helps.”

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Earth Day 2022

Green Matters: 22 Ways to Give Back to Planet Earth

In celebration of Earth Day, today.

With the 2022 edition of Earth Day calling for everyone – businesses, governments, and citizens included – to take accountability towards a healthier planet, the time for action is now. Here, in honour of this global event marked annually on April 22, The Gaggler reveals 22 ways to give back. We’ve covered initiatives in all six GCC countries, so everyone’s invited.

1

Fight food waste and advocate for misshapen produce by signing up for EroeGo, the first ugly fruits and vegetables delivery service in the UAE. Bonus: for every box delivered, the company provides meals for two people facing hunger to help fight inequality.

2

Save the planet and your skin by switching to Upfill products, which are not only waterless and all-natural, but also devoid of plastic packaging. The beauty brand has partnered with Azraq to reintroduce coral reefs in Dibba, which means your purchase will help support UAE marine life.

3

Support Goumbook’s Give a Ghaf Tree planting program to help the planet breathe better with the help of the UAE’s national tree. Now, not only can you plant a seed through the social enterprise, but you can also join its Community Planting Day and plant it yourself. 

4

Headed to Riyadh? Be sure to unwind at Respire Lounge, where sustainability awaits at every turn – solar panels, Tesla charging stations, a compost machine, and a reverse vending machine are just some of the onsite features.

Earth Day

5

Reduce your consumption of single-use plastic water bottles by joining the Dubai Can movement, accessing drinking water at the many water stations installed across Dubai – Kite Beach, Zabeel Park, and Madinat Jumeirah included. Up to 50 new refill stations are expected.

6

Fight plastic pollution by volunteering with the Doha Environmental Actions Project, which frequently organises school presentations and environmental awareness sessions across Qatar. Recent events have included beach, desert, and mangrove clean-ups.

7

Inspire the next generation to make positive choices by gifting Save Our World’s The Eco-heroes series of children’s books about five fictional friends who are helping save the planet by reducing food waste, minimising plastic, and more. Funny and engaging, they encourage readers to make positive choices from a young age.

8

Based in Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Download the RECAPP app to have recyclables collected from your home for free. All you have to do is segregate them from general waste and schedule a pick-up day and time.

9

If you live in Kuwait, book a pick-up by Enviroserve, which recycles everything from plastic and paper to hazardous electronic waste such as cell phones and home appliances. Incidentally, Kuwait generates 1.5kg of trash per person per day – twice the global average – making this company a vital component of the country’s green initiatives.

10

Organise a fundraiser in support of Emirates Nature–WWF through fundraising platform Yalla Give, where you can share your campaign idea and collect donations online. The non-profit organisation partners with individuals and institutions to achieve science-based solutions towards combating climate change and safeguarding local biodiversity.

Celebrating Earth Day

11

Considering most fast fashion purchases end up in landfills, shop pre-loved clothing at the likes of Retold, The Luxury Closet, and La Suite in Dubai. Alternatively, turn to Wild Fabrik, an ethical online marketplace rooted in providing independent sustainable brands with a platform to sell their goods and ensuring that they’re paid fairly.

12

Muscat residents can support marine conservation efforts by diving with Aura Divers – it facilitates the collection of everyday trash from the ocean during each dive. We also love that it was founded by Ehdaa Al Barwani, the first and only female dive instructor from Oman, who’s all about encouraging women to explore the underwater world.

13

Sign up for one of Emirates Environmental Group’s many campaigns that entail picking up trash, planting trees, collecting aluminum cans for recycling, and more. Devoted to protecting the environment through the means of education, involvement, and action programmes, the group encourages both corporate and community engagement.

14

Consume more sensibly and sustainably in Qatar with the help of Souqti, a platform where you can not only buy, sell, and rent pre-owned fashion, but also have items cleaned, repaired, and customised. Anchored in helping people reduce their footprint while saving money, it lists the designer likes of Gucci, Givenchy, and Céline.

15

Turn to The Giving Movement for athleisure as the eco-conscious clothing brand uses fabric made from recycled plastic water bottles. And, as its name suggests, the brand donates AED 15 to its partner charities for every single item sold.

16

Live in Bahrain and looking to give back? Volunteers are always needed for the beach and dive clean-ups organised by the aptly named CleanUp Bahrain, which is dedicated to influencing the youth of this island nation to make a difference.

Ways to Give Back to Planet Earth

17

Single-use menstrual products wreak havoc on marine environments. The solution? A reusable menstrual cup that, with proper care, can last up to six years. Other options include period pants (which can be put in the washing machine after use) and reusable tampon applicators by brands like Dame and Thinx.

18

Calling everyone with a scuba diving certification! Over 250 million tons of plastic are estimated to make their way into our ocean by 2025, so join the Dive Against Debris sessions hosted by Divers Down, which entail collecting everyday trash from the seas of Dubai and Fujairah. Both morning and afternoon slots are available.

19

Based in Jeddah, the Hejaz Ploggers are involved in planting, upcycling, and clean-up activities – all while promoting picking up trash while jogging (a.k.a. plogging). Any community organisaton that promotes a healthier lifestyle while challenging our current environmental habits wins our vote.

20

Help Freestyle Divers preserve and protect the UAE’s coral reefs by exploring its full curriculum that features courses, workshops, and internships. And if you want to learn to dive, the community scuba diving centre can construct a personalised programme for you to simultaneously gain experience in both scuba diving and marine conservation.

21

Calling all frequent flyers! Through Qatar Airways’ Carbon Offset Programme, you can offset the carbon emissions from your flight at the time of booking. All contributions received will be directed to the Fatanpur Wind Farm, an India-based project that avoids 210,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

22

Tackle ocean pollution and protect endangered marine life by volunteering with one of Azraq’s many environmental campaigns in the country. To date, the marine conservation organisation has reduced the use of plastic in the hospitality industry at over 55 outlets, removed millions of plastic straws from circulation, and recovered 60,000 plastic utensils from circulation across the UAE.

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Global Recycling Day and electronic waste

Let’s Address Our Greatest Threat: Electronic Waste

Why bin when you can recycle?

Today is Global Recycling Day, a day for the world to come together and put the planet first as we face a climate emergency of unparalleled proportions. Now’s the time to think about what we throw away – and how we do it – considering that the last decade has been the hottest on record.

If significant and rapid changes are not made, rising global temperatures, the melting of ice caps, continents on fire, and devastating deforestation will continue at an accelerating rate. Recycling is a key part of the circular economy, helping to protect our natural resources. Each year, the ‘Seventh Resource’ – the recyclables – saves over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions, and this is projected to increase to one billion tonnes by 2030.

Global Recycling Day & E wastage

According to the Global Recycling Foundation, electronic waste should now be regarded as the greatest threat to our planet, with the United Nations warning that the current 53 million tonnes of e-waste generated every year will more than double by 2050, making it the fastest-growing waste stream in the world.

“It may already be too late to stem the tide of the millions of discarded smartphones and other electronic waste, from fridges and TVs to microwaves and PC monitors,” says Ranjit Baxi, Founding President of the Global Recycling Foundation. “But it’s not just the items themselves – it’s the irreplaceable precious metals and dangerous components like lithium-ion batteries, cadmium, lead and mercury, flame-retardant chemicals, and corrosive acid that are used in their manufacture. These amount to so much toxic waste, which, if not professionally recycled, ends up on waste dumps.”

recycle electronic waste

Recognising the people, places, and activities that showcase what an important role recycling plays in contributing to an environmentally stable planet and a greener future that will benefit all, the theme of Global Recycling Day 2022 is ‘recycling fraternity’, celebrating those who have been on the frontline to collect waste and recycle in recent years.

With a mission to highlight the UAE’s very own recycling fraternity, The Gaggler visited Ecyclex, a Dubai-based company that works with individual businesses as well as Dubai Municipality to recycle electronics, domestic appliances, and batteries – with fascinating results. Find out all about Ecyclex and what you can do to be a more environmentally conscious consumer here.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Recycling with Ecyclex

Ecyclex has operations across the country. Find out more at www.ecyclex.com

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Red hands holding together with heart shape

No, This Is Not Your Typical Advent Calendar

Let the 24 days of giving back begin!

‘Tis the season of overindulgence, late nights, and way too many social events, but at The Gaggler, we’re doing things a little differently, taking this holiday season to give back instead. Enter our 2021 advent calendar that will help you mark the 24 days until Christmas by conserving our oceans, educating a child, empowering underprivileged women, and more.

Click on each image to get started.

December 1: Plant a Seed

With its ability to stay green in harsh desert environments, Ghaf is the country's national tree because of its cultural significance. Now, not only can you plant a seed with the help of social enterprise Goumbook, but you can also join its Community Planting Day and plant it yourself. Learn more at www.goumbook.com

December 2: Repair Local Reefs

Are you a diver, an underwater photographer, a marine biology student, or a marine biologist? Support the marine conservation efforts of Freestyle Divers by joining its environmental monitoring programmes to get involved with protecting local reefs. Learn more at www.freestyledivers.me

December 3: Enrich a Life

While there are no statistics available on the number of people diagnosed with autism in the UAE, we know that it's on the rise, so volunteer with Dubai Autism Center if helping those with special needs is something close to your heart and you have time to spare. Learn more at www.dubaiautismcenter.ae.

December 4: Educate a Child

Operating 1,687 schools across Pakistan, The Citizens Foundation has been educating children from underprivileged families since 1995, and you can support the cause by sponsoring a child's education or an entire classroom. Learn more at www.tcf.org.pk.

December 5: Caffeinate Differently

The Bee Café in Abu Dhabi is the first in the country to be operated entirely by people of determination, so supporting it with a visit is a must-do. The café is part of the Bee the Change campaign, which aims to increase the employment of people of determination. Learn more at @beethe_change on Instagram.

December 6: Save a Preemie

The world loses a newborn every 10 seconds, so let's live in a world where all premature babies – including those from vulnerable populations – have access to an incubator by donating to the founders of the portable and life-saving Embrace incubator. Learn more at www.embraceglobal.org.

December 7: Offer a Safe Space

Skateistan has been empowering Afghan girls through skateboarding and education programmes since 2009 and, now, it's expanding to 20 locations – starting with Jordan. Help the award-winning international NGO write its next chapter by making a donation. Learn more at www.skateistan.org.

December 8: Scour the Seas

Whether you sign up as a temporary or permanent volunteer, you can make a difference for the local dolphin population by volunteering with UAE Dolphin Project. As for why your help is needed? Not only are dolphins “ecological indicators” of the status of the sea, but sightings have also declined drastically in the past few years. Learn more at www.uaedolphinproject.org.

December 9: Empower Underprivileged Women

Empowering underprivileged women through sustainable crafts, Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts deserves your patronage. Looking for unique Christmas gifts? Head to its e-store and opt for something that features Sadu, a traditional weaving technique that plays a central role in the social lives of Bedouin women. Learn more at www.alghadeeruaecrafts.ae.

December 10: Gift a Meal

Partnering with UAE Food Bank to guarantee responsible distribution, the Gift a Meal initiative is on a mission to ensure that no one ever misses a lunch. Join the movement to help feed an individual in need – gifting a meal will only cost you AED 10. Learn more at www.makemymeal.ae.

December 11: Help a Sister

The first licensed non-profit shelter in the UAE that runs specifically for the care of women and children, the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children is always seeking volunteers who are professionals and highly skilled in educational, vocational, and recreational training, so lend a hand if you fit the bill. Learn more at www.dfwac.ae.

December 12: Remember the Forgotten

SmartLife is an NPO/NGO that reciprocates the immense hard work of blue collar workers by educating them to walk towards a better tomorrow and unleashing their hidden potential. As for how you can chip in? Anything from donating your time and passion to help to sharing creative ideas and marketing skills. Learn more at www.smartlifefoundation.org.

December 13: Buy a Doll

For each personalised doll sold that you purchase from Dumyé, a doll is gifted to a child in need. Not only can you choose your ethically handcrafted doll’s body colour, eye colour, hair colour, and hairstyle – that’s over 140 unique combinations at your fingertips – but it also makes for a present suited to a budding philanthropist. Learn more at www.dumye.com.

December 14: Grant a Wish

Make-A-Wish exists for only one reason – to grant wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions. You can make a difference to a child's life by volunteering as a wish granter, an office worker, a translator, a fundraiser, a speaker, or event staff member. Learn more at www.makeawish.ae.

December 15: Raise Awareness

Pink Caravan is a UAE-based breast cancer initiative that falls under Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) for early detection of cancer, and you can play your part in raising awareness about this disease by donating money, registering as a volunteer, or even joining the medical team. Learn more at www.linktr.ee/pinkcaravan.

December 16: Serve the Sick

Equip a struggling hospital or clinic by making a financial donation to Project C.U.R.E., the world’s largest distributor of donated medical equipment and supplies to resource-limited communities across the globe – it has been serving the sick and dying in over 135 countries since 1987. Learn more at www.projectcure.org.

December 17: Support Health Equity

Another global non-profit rooted in improving public health, PATH comprises a global team of innovators working to accelerate health equity by advising and partnering with public institutions, businesses, grassroots groups, and investors to solve the world’s most pressing health challenges. Donate now and your contribution will be matched – win-win. Learn more at www.path.org.

December 18: Protect the Planet

Shop with purpose by turning to Azraq's e-store for essentials like soap, shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrushes, reusable face masks, and more. The Dubai-based organisation is on a mission to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect the marine ecosystem and species. Learn more at www.azraqme.org.

December 19: Start Fundraising

The first licensed online donation and crowdfunding platform in the Middle East, YallaGive is all about fundraising with a smile. Campaigning for a charity or a personal cause? Start fundraising through the platform or donate to one of its many active campaigns to make a difference. Learn more at www.yallagive.com.

December 20: Join the Movement

Like the idea of simultaneously looking cool and giving back? Not only is the activewear and streetwear clothing by The Giving Movement entirely sustainable and made in the UAE, but the brand also donates AED 15 to its partner charities for every single item sold. This is conscious consumerism at its best. Learn more at www.thegivingmovement.com.

December 21: Break the Cycle

A locally based philanthropic organisation with a global outlook, Dubai Cares has been on a mission to break the cycle of poverty by ensuring all children have access to quality education since its inception in 2007. Here in the UAE, you can participate in initiatives that are linked to its global mandate – Walk for Education, Volunteer Emirates. and Volunteer Globally included. Learn more at www.dubaicares.ae.

December 22: Donate Your Locks

This holiday season, chop your locks in the name of making a cancer survivor more beautiful and confident – and what could be more beautiful than that? Enter: Locks of Hope, a campaign that provides wigs to individuals who have undergone chemotherapy with the help of both DHL and Friends of Cancer Patients. Learn more at www.focp.ae.

December 23: Get Social

With the need for improved animal welfare more urgent than ever, you can help the dedicated staff at Ras Al Khaimah Animal Welfare Centre. Unable to adopt or foster a pet? Volunteer! You can head there to socialise with its adorable animals, taking the dogs for walks or spending time with the cats. Learn more at www.rakawc.com.

December 24: Save a Life

Founded in 1986, the Dubai Health Authority's Blood Donation Center is the city's main blood donation center and committed to providing a safe supply of blood to all DHA hospitals and private hospitals in Dubai. You can also donate platelets, a type of blood cell that is essential for blood clotting and helps the likes of leukemia patients and premature babies. Learn more at www.dha.gov.ae.
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A girl reading book in bookstore

Calling All Bibliophiles on a Budget!

Fall back in love with reading.

Reading has always been touted as an essential habit to cultivate, but for some, factors such as environmental concerns, budgetary restrictions, and the allure of having a book that has been held by several hands make pre-loved bookstores the ultimate haunt. Here, we’ve curated a list of the best used bookstores in Dubai.

House of Prose

What kind of books do you sell? 

We specialise in all sorts of novels and children’s books. We also have separate sections for romance, cooking, self-help, art, comic books, health and fitness, diet, finance and business, classics, fantasy, and more. The only type we don’t deal with is academic textbooks due to the built-in expiry date, which renders them obsolete after a set time.

How are your books priced and what’s the average cost?

Most of our used novels are priced between AED 20-30, with outliers slightly above and below that price. Children’s books are almost always priced lower to encourage reading at a young age. The vast majority of our books also come with a buyback guarantee, meaning they can be returned to us after being read for 50% of the purchase value. This also applies to our brand-new books, which are sold at market price and sometimes slightly below. There is no time limit in this offer as it is the cornerstone of our system.

Can I sell my old books? How does the process work?

Absolutely! You just have to bring your books to our store and have them looked at by our employees. 

Visit House of Prose in Times Square Center or Jumeirah Lakes Towers, follow @houseofproseuae on Instagram, or visit www.houseofprose.ae to learn more.

BookHero 

What kind of books do you sell? 

We sell all kinds of books across all genres, including educational books in multiple languages such as Arabic, French, and Russian.

How are your books priced and what’s the average cost?

Our books are priced between AED 10 and 20. Each book carries either a green or yellow sticker, indicating the price as AED 10 or AED 20 respectively. Some of our stores are unmanned and run on honesty – customers can simply deposit money in our trust box after buying the books. 

Can I sell my old books? How does the process work?

We have been holding book swaps for educational books for years. Readers can simply bring in their educational books at our store and swap them for others. Recently, we also hosted an educational books giveaway during which we gave away 4,000 educational books for free.

Follow @bookhero on Instagram and @BookHeroUAE on Facebook to learn more.

Archies & Book World

What kind of books do you sell?

We have a collection of more than 90,000 books for all age groups, and almost all categories except school books in both our outlets, Archies and Book World.

How are your books priced and what’s the average cost?

The average price for fiction, including comics, starts from AED 10, but multiple copies are sometimes kept in our bargain baskets and sold at AED 2-9 as well. The Archies store in Karama also functions as a lending library. To borrow books, you need to take up a membership. The rates vary based on your needs and requires a refundable deposit of AED 75. You can borrow four to six books at once for roughly two weeks, though this can be extended. Both our stores also offer buyback services, so people can return a purchased book for 50% credit. 

Can I sell my old books? How does the process work?

Normally, we encourage buyback of books purchased from our outlets, but we’re also open to accepting other books from our customers. Please visit our bookstore to know more.  

Visit Archies in Karama and Book World in Satwa or follow @DubaiBooks on Facebook to learn more. 

Bookends

What kind of books do you sell?

We sell all kinds of books except textbooks and religious books. We now maintain an average of 10,000 books on our website in 11 different languages.

How are your books priced and what’s the average cost?

We try to keep our prices below 50% of the original market price. The average price on our site is AED 15, with some books going on sale for as low as AED 5.

Can I sell my old books? How does the process work?

Yes, you can! We operate as an online marketplace where people can buy and sell pre-loved books. After an initial conversation with us, a seller can send us their books with their suggested prices. We will add a service fee to each book and post it on our website. Once the book is sold, the seller is paid accordingly in cash or as credit to be used in our store. We also take extra care to review the condition of each book before listing it on our platform.

Visit bookends.ae and follow @bookendsae on Instagram to learn more.

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Undergarments with periods stains

I Tried Period Pants (and Here’s the Bloody Truth)

Tales from a brief encounter…

Over the decades, feminine products have constantly changed for the better. From sheep’s wool to rags to pads to pads with belts (oh how fashionable… NOT) to pads with wings to tampons to tampons with applicators to moon cups – and now period pants! With the pros outweighing the cons, we knew we had to give them a try in order to give you lowdown on the good, the bad, and the ugly of period underwear. Read on for a firsthand account by our resident period preacher Clare Geeves. We can’t promise that she won’t get a little TMI, but hey – we’re all ladies here!

The Good

Every woman’s cycle is different, but usually, the first couple of days are the heaviest. As for me? I’m cramping and bloated, and my flow is so heavy that I usually have to change my moon cup every two hours during those first two days. With the period pants (I used the heavy flow ones during these days), I weirdly felt super protected and only changed them twice a day – once when I got up and once before bed. I didn’t have to worry about waking up early (I usually wear a moon cup to bed) and running at warped speed to the bathroom, knowing I was about to leak.

The period pants are waterproof around the outer layer and leakproof, so my sheets were saved this period! Also, during the first couple of days when you are cramping (which feels like hot knives stabbing you in the ovaries and lower back), using a tampon or moon cup can make the cramping worse. My cramps were a whole lot milder while using the period pants. It also means no accidental blood stains on any of your underwear (I have a whole section of my underwear drawer dedicated to 10-year-old undies just for when I have my period).

The Bad

Admittedly, the initial investment for enough period pants for a whole cycle (mine only lasts three days, so it was cheaper than a cycle that lasts for five days) can be pricey. You will need at least two or three for each day during your heavy cycle, but if you calculate how much tampons or pads will cost you monthly, this adds up (so the initial upfront investment is definitely worth it). Before this trial run, I bought three pairs every month for three months to ensure I had enough. I only wear my period pants at home and to bed. Thankfully, I am currently WFH so the period pants were dreamy. I would NEVER wear them out (way too much VPL).

The Ugly

Okay ladies, there is a smell unfortunately. I only noticed the smell after wearing them for over 10 hours (usually overnight) and it was only when I took them off (to pee after sleeping a full night) that I could then smell the period pants. Of course, I put them straight into the washing machine and never thought about the smell again (until the next morning).

The Verdict

I am officially converted to period pants, but in no hurry to throw away my moon cup. When I’m out for dinner or heading to the gym, it’s all about the moon cup. And when I am lounging around at home or my home office? Period underwear FTW!

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Hidden Treasures: 5 Thrifting Veterans Share Their Secrets

Ready to thrift like a pro?

Want to be sustainable, stick to a budget, and have fun shopping? If so, then thrifting is your calling. If you’re new to the concept of pre-loved fashion, it can be a bit daunting as thrift stores don’t always come with the assurances of regular clothing stores. Here, we tap five Dubai residents who love to thrift for their tips on how to thrift like a pro.

Aprilyn Velasco 

How did you get started with thrifting? And how long have you been doing it for?

A few years back, I started thrifting whenever I would travel to the Philippines for vacation, but I was only doing so casually at that point. I started to get seriously into it shortly before the pandemic, and my drive to thrift got stronger as I researched more about the impact of fast fashion. Altogether, I’ve roughly been thrifting for two to three years now.

What tip do you use to thrift efficiently? How did the idea come about

When I go thrifting at a physical store, I always bring a measuring tape with me. My mom likes to sew, so she once advised me to take a measuring tape while thrifting – and it’s been a life-changer. Some thrift shops, such as pop-ups, don’t let you try on certain clothes due to hygiene reasons or simply because they may lack changing facilities. Bringing a measuring tape makes it easier to estimate whether the clothes will fit you, especially since clothing in thrift shops have different sizing as they come from different countries.  

Which thrift stores do you recommend we check out?

For online stores, I recommend @rewyndapparel because not only does it offer really good clothing for a great deal, but the quality of its products is also incredible. I would also recommend Thrift For Good as 100% of its profit is used to help children. 

Learn more about Aprilyn Velasco at @apziiiss

Pari Bhave 

How did you get started with thrifting? And how long have you been doing it for?

Initially, I got started because of my brother, who would go thrifting with his friends to buy denim jackets and jeans. I also used to watch a lot of YouTubers who thrift, such as Emma Chamberlain and Bestdressed. They’re what really inspired me and, now, I’ve been thrifting for three years.

What tip do you use to thrift efficiently? How did the idea come about?

I never walk into a thrift store without a plan of attack. I got the idea from watching Youtubers like Haley’s Corner – who posts videos on themed thrift hauls – and by observing their approach to thrifting. Even though these clothes are cheap, I don’t want to just hoard stuff as it’s not sustainable. That’s why you need to decide beforehand if there’s anything specific that you’re looking for, say a white shirt, and stick to it. If not a specific item, at least a rough theme such as formal wear or party wear works, too. This tip also prevents me from overspending.

Which thrift stores do you recommend we check out?

I like to go to Satwa where there are a lot of small, underrated thrift stores lined by the streets. I also recommend Instagram stores like @bearly.used and @apple.bottomjeans.thrift.

Learn more about Pari Bhave at @pari_bhave

Anne Libranda 

How did you get started thrifting with thrifting? And how long have you been doing it for?

I started last year when I saw a friend of mine post her haul from an Instagram thrift store and, out of curiosity, decided to check it out. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked on thrifting. I mainly bought jewellery from online stores in the beginning as they were easier to trust, and I didn’t have to worry about sizing. As I got more comfortable, I started trying out different tops, jackets, button-ups etc. I also started buying most of the clothes I wear to work from thrift stores. Nobody can tell the difference! 

What tip do you use to thrift efficiently? How did the idea come about?

Not all thrift stores will have an item in your size or one that perfectly matches your requirements, so I started to either DIY or upcycle the clothes that I bought in a way that would fit me. For instance, if I liked a pair of pants but it was too long, I’d just put hair ties or rubber bands on the bottom and then fold up the pants in a way that covers the tie, giving it a more jogger/cuffed look that won’t unfold later during the day. My mom and I have been doing this since forever! Sometimes, I used to get clothes that didn’t fit me as gifts from relatives and friends, but my mom and I would always adjust it later instead of tossing it away.

If you want a more permanent fix, I recommend getting your clothes tailored to fit your size. There are several places in Karama, for instance, that have decent prices. But of course, in terms of affordability, it’s much easier – not to mention all the creative opportunities it opens up – if you can alter it by yourself. For upcycling clothes, the sky is the limit. You can cut them, redecorate them, bleach them, paint them, or even print them with your own designs. There are so many ways of upcycling clothing, and you can easily find inspiration on TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Which thrift stores do you recommend we check out?

I mostly buy from online thrift stores, and some of my favourites include @prinsell.styd, @th.ri.ft, and @erishcloset.

Learn more about Anne Libranda at @renboyepicklebottom

Dianne Francisco

How did you get started thrifting with thrifting? And how long have you been doing it for?

As a Filipino, my native language has a term called ukay-ukay, which is equivalent to ‘thrift’. Us Filipinos have always found ways to live a sustainable life and, as a kid, I was taught to make the most of what we have. I was trained to be mindful about purchases and even the carbon footprint that I leave. Because of such an upbringing, I learned about thrifting at a young age. I started thrifting by myself when I was 17, and it has been two years now. Thrifting has allowed me to budget well as a college student – clothes from regular stores would cost a lot more.

What tip do you use to thrift efficiently? How did the idea come about?

I always ask myself two questions before buying something: Do I see myself pairing this with most of what’s in my wardrobe? Do I see myself still wearing this three years from now? It’s important to buy according to our needs more than wants in my opinion, and asking these questions helps in self-control. As someone who is approaching adult life, I set rules for myself while shopping. It’s important to consider where your money goes and be sure that what you’re getting is worth it. It’s easy to find pretty garments or accessories that are trendy, but I believe that buying items that fit your own style and make you happy is much more satisfying. 

Which thrift stores do you recommend we check out?

The best brick-and-mortar thrift shop I can recommend is D&J as it has everything you need in every style for a reasonable price. For online stores, I always buy at @timeless_wardrobe_et and @bywesaved.

Learn more about Dianne Francisco at @frncs.co

Lily Loulijia 

How did you get started with thrifting? And how long have you been doing it for?

I was recommended thrifting by a friend back in Bahrain. I was talking to her about how I wish there were thrift stores in the country and my friend, being from the Philippines, was well-versed with the ukay-ukay community within the country. An ukay-ukay is a Filipino store where secondhand items such as clothes, bags, shoes, and other accessories are sold at a lower price.She opened my eyes to a whole new world of shopping, and I’ve been thrifting since March 2020.

What tip do you use to thrift efficiently?

Look. Through. The. Pile. Thoroughly. I cannot stress this enough. I’ve often found cute pieces that are hidden in a corner, have fallen off the rack, or are wrapped within another shirt. I was originally inspired to do this by a YouTube video on thrifting. If you look through everything thoroughly, you’re bound to find a hidden gem. 

Which thrift stores do you recommend we check out?

As mentioned earlier, ukay-ukays are a must-visit. Simply look up “ukay-ukays near me” and you’ll realise that they’re scattered around almost every part of Dubai, leaving you with a fashion treasure map across the city. The Urban Market also features great pop-up thrift stores. It usually hosts an event every Friday with vendors, fitness classes, food, and drinks in addition to displaying beautiful pre-loved pieces.

Learn more about Lily Loulijia at @lillyloulijia

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5 Women on Sustainable Living in the UAE

Their everyday tips are surprisingly easy.

As climate change rapidly accelerates and our planet pays the price, the onus is on us to breathe life back into our environment. Several governments, companies, and other organisations have pledged to work towards building a greener future. But what can the average person do? Here, we tap five UAE-based women for their everyday tips when it comes to living sustainably.

Charlene Nawar

Why is being sustainable important to you?

Sustainable living meant so much to me that I gave up my job as a lawyer to pursue a new career in sustainability in order to make a difference. Our current consumption habits are depleting the planet’s finite resources, and we are constantly living in ecological overshoot. But it is also about my family and the future generations – they will be the ones who really have to deal with the impact of climate change. That’s why, even though I know that I cannot make enough of a difference alone, I hope to inspire and encourage more people to make a few positive changes in order to have a big impact!

What one sustainability tip do you use to ‘do better, be better’ in your everyday life? 

I compost all my food scraps and use this compost for my garden. I started with the Bokashi composting method, which seemed quite easy to begin with. You put all your food scraps in an airtight bucket under your sink and all you must later do is dig a hole and bury the compost.

Where did you get the idea and how long have you been doing it?

I’ve been composting my food waste for approximately three years now. It all started when I looked at my trash bin and realised that food waste was a large part of it – and I don’t mean actual wasted food, but food scraps from fruit, vegetable peels etc. I had heard a lot about composting, but was afraid to try it as it sounded quite overwhelming. I also wasn’t ready for bugs or mice. But after learning about the Bokashi method, I decided to give it a try. I ended up making quite a few mistakes along the way, but I’ve never looked back since then!

Is there anything else you do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?

Yes! There are so many small changes that I have managed to incorporate into my lifestyle. In fact, they now come naturally and don’t feel like big changes anymore. This includes taking my own reusable bags for shopping and fresh produce bags when grocery shopping, and always carrying a reusable bottle with water from my water filter at home to avoid buying plastic bottles when I am out.

Learn more about Charlene Nawar at @theunwrappedco.

Jude Al Qubaisi

Why is being sustainable important to you?

Sustainability is not a choice. If anything, I believe that all humans are naturally sustainable. The issue is the disconnect that many people experience when it comes to sustainability in the UAE – consumerism along with a convenience culture that is extremely wasteful has taken over. As an Arab, I believe that we are naturally collectivists, and we had to be sustainable once upon a time. But today, we can afford to not live sustainably because of the nature of the existing framework. I live a three-minute walk from a mall and, to this day, my friends are shocked when I suggest walking because they can afford gas. Sustainability is the natural way of things, and it’s us who can make a choice to live sustainably or take a more convenient approach.

What one sustainability tip do you use to ‘do better, be better’ in your everyday life? 

I collect candle wax to use from old candles whose wick has died out. All you need to do is take an old candle, put it into a glass bowl over hot water on a stove, and wait for the wax to melt. Once it’s melted, you can scoop it out and store it in recycled empty bottles – I usually use an old cheese spread or ketchup glass container – and add in a wick. They cost about AED 0.50 each. 

Where did you get the idea and how long have you been doing it?

I have a lot of candles at home, and I mostly use scented ones to keep my room smelling nice. But scented candles are expensive and, at some point, the wick would just give out and you’d have a lot of wax left. Eventually, I started collecting it, and then, one day, I noticed my mother’s empty glass jar collection. So, a few months ago I went to a craft store, bought some wick rope, and started experimenting. I was influenced by watching soap-making and candle-making videos. I mean, if you can melt wax pellets, why not leftover wax?

Is there anything else you do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?

I recently started a thrift store that aims to recycle and repurpose items to counteract consumerism in the UAE. I sell the candles that I make to fund the store, and I keep costs low by painting on select thrifted clothes and pricing them a bit higher.

Learn more about Jude Al Qubaisi at @jude.queue.

Haani Abdul Qayoom

Why is being sustainable important to you?

With every lifestyle change that I make to be more sustainable comes a little effort, to begin with, but it has the best long-term effects. It saves money, it’s healthier, and it’s rewarding. From a wider perspective, it saves resources. These are a few benefits among others. Trying to live sustainably is the only logical way of life, according to me.

What one sustainability tip do you use to ‘do better, be better’ in your everyday life? 

I collect all the wastewater from the kitchen and the air conditioning to water my plants after filtration.

Where did you get the idea and how long have you been doing it?

The idea actually came from my dad! I got inspired by watching him do it, and I’ve now been doing it for as long as I can remember. 

Is there anything else you do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?

One way in which I’m trying to be more sustainable includes raising my cats more sustainably. I have three cats and I’m trying to switch their cat products to more sustainable options, such as switching to home food instead of wet food. One of my cats loves home-cooked food, so all the protein that’s leftover on my plate goes to him! I’m also trying to switch to sustainable tofu litter for all three of them.

Learn more about Haani Abdul Qayoom at @wasteduae.

Beenish Khan

Why is being sustainable important to you?

Sustainability is important to me because we are now approaching a dead end while accelerating at full speed. If we were hypothetically sitting in a speeding car like that, would it be possible to ignore it? Our future is going to be deadly, and that’s why I believe we must act now to slow down.

What one sustainability tip do you use to ‘do better, be better’ in your everyday life? 

Water conservation is very important to me – that’s why I don’t wash all my clothes very frequently. You do not need to put your clothes in the washing machine after wearing them just once. You can re-wear them three to four times unless there’s a stain or you were sweating. Denim is one type of clothing that I believe can be worn the most without washing regularly, depending on your usage. I have even been able to make it last a whole month! 

Where did you get the idea and how long have you been doing it?

I learned about water conservation in my childhood from my parents who taught me that wasting water was a sin. My mom used to tell me which clothes needed to be washed and which could be worn again, depending on various factors when doing her laundry. I’ve been using this hack most of my life, initially for ethical reasons such as how wasting resources can deprive someone else and now also keeping sustainability in mind.

Is there anything else you do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?

Yes! I have installed water-efficient taps to save water and painted my home in light tones so that the sunlight reflects off it and brightens the room – that way, I don’t need to turn on the lights during the day. I also try not to follow fashion trends and stick to my own aesthetic.

Learn more about Beenish Khan at @thesustainablefemme.

Samira V. Banat

Why is being sustainable important to you?

Most of us are familiar with the brooding effects of climate change and may have personally experienced them. When I was younger, I knew that I had to start making a difference in my lifestyle. When you’re learning about who you are and figuring out how to become a better person, you may start to understand that sustainability, kindness, and an overall better standard of life are intertwined. This was the case for me. I spent most of my teenage years following a vegetarian diet, implementing vegan practices, and even founded an environmental club at my high school. As someone who strongly wishes to become a mother one day, I feel obliged to educate others, spread awareness, and improve the environmental and ethical conditions in which we live. Otherwise, verdant jungles, golden dunes, and azure waters filled with the most extraordinary life will just be tales of the past.

What one sustainability tip do you use to ‘do better, be better’ in your everyday life? 

A tip that’s simple yet effective is opting out of printing everything, whether it be documents, your bills, or receipts. If you’re using an ATM, choose the ‘Green’ or ‘Eco’ option and don’t print a receipt. If you need to keep a record of something – even a receipt – take a picture. It may require more time and effort, but writing things down works as well. And if you find yourself with a collection of receipts and other printed documents that you don’t necessarily need, give them away for recycling. 

Where did you get the idea and how long have you been doing it?

I’ve been choosing the ‘Eco’ option at ATMs for two years since I got my bank account at 18. However, I would always encourage my parents and friends to do it even before that, especially considering bank statements are sent via text to your phone anyway. I don’t recall exactly when this started, but the idea stemmed from simply seeing the eco-friendly, no-print option on the UAE’s ATM machines when I was younger. As for all the other printing-related habits I picked up, it was just a part of the natural process. I became more conscious of my paper usage and learned to acknowledge that certain areas of my actions required some work – and so I put in the work.

Is there anything else you do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?

I always make sure to choose my mode of transport wisely. Of course, this depends on where you live, access to sidewalks and public transport, as well as how well it suits your lifestyle. However, I believe walking to wherever you need to go is the best thing you can do to lessen your carbon footprint. Plus, it’s highly beneficial for your physical and mental health. 

Learn more about Samira V. Banat at @samiraavb.

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Ocean debris on the beach

The Complete Lowdown on World Environment Day

And how you can help.

We’re celebrating not one, but two major planetary events in the coming days: World Environment Day on Saturday, and World Ocean Day on Tuesday. So if there was ever a time to multiply your efforts towards helping the world, this is the week to do it.

June 5 is World Environment Day, the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. A vital platform for promoting progress on the environmental dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals, it sees over 150 countries participate each year, with corporations, governments, non-governmental organisations, communities, and celebrities from across the world coming together to champion environmental causes.

THIS YEAR’S THEME: ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION

The theme of World Environment Day 2021 is Ecosystem Restoration, and June 5 will see the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which dedicates the years 2021-2030 to the prevention, halting, and reversal of the loss and degradation of ecosystems worldwide. Aiming to revive hundreds of millions of hectares, covering terrestrial as well as aquatic ecosystems, the UN Decade will draw together political support, scientific research, and financial muscle to massively scale up restoration in a global call to action.

WHAT IS ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION?

Ecosystem restoration is assisting in the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed, as well as conserving the ecosystems that are still intact. Healthier ecosystems with richer biodiversity yield greater benefits such as more fertile soils, bigger yields of timber and fish, and larger stores of greenhouse gases. Restoration can happen in many ways: by growing trees, greening cities, rewilding gardens, changing diets, or cleaning up rivers and coasts through actively planting or removing pressures so that nature can recover on its own.

And while it is not always possible – or desirable – to return an ecosystem to its original state, the restoration of 350 million hectares of degraded terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems could generate USD 9 trillion in ecosystem services and remove 13 to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere between now and 2030. The economic benefits of such interventions exceed nine times the cost of investment, whereas inaction is at least three times more costly than ecosystem restoration.

WHAT IS THE UAE DOING TO PROTECT THE PLANET?

Here in the UAE, a variety of homegrown organisations are working towards restoring and conserving our environment, including AZRAQ (which focuses on the protection, defence and conservation of marine life) and the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD), which happens to be the largest environmental regulator committed to protecting and enhancing air quality, groundwater, and the biodiversity of Abu Dhabi’s desert and marine ecosystems in the region. Watch what EAD is doing in its mission to battle climate change and reduce marine plastic pollution, below. 

Watch The Video: The Battle Against Climate Change

At the current rate, it is estimated that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050 – a terrifying statistic that leaves no time for inaction. And with the ongoing battle against climate change and the mission to reduce marine plastic pollution a priority, World Environment Day encourages everyone to look around and see what they can do to help restore the planet.

Whether you find a local beach clean-up to take part in, vow to reduce your use of single-use plastic, pledge to recycle more of your household waste, or become part of a tree-planting group, there are numerous ways to help save the planet – not just today, but every day. Using the hashtag #GenerationRestoration, the UN Decade is galvanising a global movement in which everyone can contribute to the mission. Visit the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration website to learn more.

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Why Earth Day Is More Significant Than Ever

You can help fight climate change – here’s how.

Tomorrow is Earth Day and, as the ongoing climate crisis escalates amidst the pandemic, April 22 becomes an even more significant day in the battle to save our planet. 

Established in 1970 as a day to highlight the specific environmental challenges the world is facing, from climate crisis to air pollution and deforestation, Earth Day is supported by millions of people across the world. This year sees three days of climate-focused activity, anchored by US president Joe Biden’s invitation to 40 world leaders to take part in a virtual summit in order to highlight the urgency for stronger climate action. 

The theme of this year’s Earth Day is Restore Our Earth, which focuses on both the need to reduce our impact on the planet as we recover from the effects of Covid-19 and the role we play in repairing the damage we’ve done. Despite suggestions that nature had a chance to ‘heal itself’ when countries went into lockdown at the start of the pandemic, figures show that global C02 emissions are now back at pre-pandemic levels. And with dramatic cuts of an estimated 45% by 2030 required to keep global warming to 1.5°C, the enormity of the challenge we’re facing is clear.

“This Earth Day, we have an important opportunity to challenge our leaders to commit to climate action on a global scale,” says Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network. “We are at the edge of a cliff — if we don’t act now to reduce carbon emissions, there will be no way back.” With world climate leaders, grassroots activists, non-profit innovators, thought leaders, industry leaders, artists, musicians, influencers, and the leaders of tomorrow coming together to push us towards a better world, there are thousands of events taking place for this year’s Earth Day, both online and IRL. 

“For over half a century, hundreds of millions of people from around the globe have taken political and volunteer action on Earth Day, yet multiple accelerating environmental and health crises continue to envelop our planet, impacting everyone but particularly the poor and vulnerable who live among us,” says Kathleen. “On behalf of the one billion people who will take part in Earth Day this year, even in the midst of a second year of the pandemic, we demand that the talking stop and that governments and corporations commit to net-zero emissions by 2040 with an interim goal of cutting emissions in half by 2030. Anything less will deprive our children of their right to inherit a habitable planet.” 

Want to get involved? It’s easy. Organisers have also produced a handy toolkit to help you get involved, whether that’s organising a teach-in to educate people on the challenges we’re facing or a clean-up – something that’s even more needed considering the increased pollution we’ve seen from single-use masks and gloves during the pandemic. You can also tune into Earth Day Live 2021, a live-streamed event that includes workshops, panel discussions, and a series of guest appearances. 

Encouraging us to look at natural processes, green technologies, and innovative thinking that can make a lasting and transformative impact to restore our Earth, this occasion marks the perfect time to consider how you can adapt your everyday activities to live a more sustainable life. From recycling household waste, avoiding single-use plastics, and switching to renewable energy to wearing sustainably sourced clothing, using public transport over cars, and eating more local produce, looking after the planet is something we all must take responsibility for – and there’s not a moment to waste. 

Want to learn more about Earth Day? Check out National Geographic’s top documentaries to watch here.

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earth hour

Earth Hour 2021 Shines A Spotlight On The State Of The Planet

Why turning your lights off for 60 minutes on Saturday night will help fight climate change

This Saturday, March 27 at 8:30 p.m UAE time, Earth Hour will virtually bring together millions of people, businesses, and leaders from around the world to shine a spotlight on the urgent need to address nature loss and climate change. 

With evidence pointing towards a close link between nature’s destruction and rising incidences of infectious disease outbreaks like COVID-19, Earth Hour 2021 will unite people online to speak up for nature. This global event comes ahead of key moments when world leaders will take critical decisions on nature, climate change and sustainable development setting the course of our future.

The occurrence of several catastrophic incidents last year including extreme weather events, devastating wildfires and the COVID-19 outbreak highlighted that preventing nature loss is crucial for safeguarding our future. A global assessment of biodiversity targets showed that the world failed to meet the 2020 deadline for achieving the targets set for preventing nature loss a decade ago, making Earth Hour 2021 a pivotal opportunity for civil society organisations, individuals, businesses and environmentalists to call on world leaders for setting nature on a path to recovery by 2030.

“Healthy, natural ecosystems are the cornerstone of thriving, equitable and sustainable societies. Our current socio-economic models are leading to the devastating destruction of nature which is increasing our vulnerability to pandemics, accelerating climate change, and placing livelihoods at risk,’ says Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International. 

‘2021 is a crucial year for humanity. As the world tries to turn the tide and recover from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild itself, we need to put nature at the centre of our recovery efforts to future proof our economies and societies. Earth Hour allows us to unite and call for urgent action to reverse nature loss and secure a nature-positive world by 2030.” 

Over the years, Earth Hour’s ‘lights-off’ moment saw entire streets, buildings, landmarks, and city skylines go dark – an unmissable sight that drew public attention to nature loss and the climate crisis. This year, the many of the UAE’s major landmarks and businesses will once again support Earth Hour by tuning off their lights for an hour on Saturday night.

In the past decade, Earth Hour has inspired global initiatives for the protection of nature, climate and the environment, helping drive awareness, action and policy change. The movement helped in the creation of a 3.5 million hectares of protected marine area in Argentina; a 2,700-hectare Earth Hour forest in Uganda; secured new legislation for the protection of seas and forests in Russia; pushed for a ban on single-use plastics and Styrofoam products in the Ecuadorian capital, and initiated the planting of 20,000 mangrove seedlings in 13 cities in Indonesia.

This year – amidst the current global circumstances – in addition to switching off our lights, Earth Hour invites us to take part in the first ever ‘Virtual Spotlight ‘ – raising awareness and creating the same unmissable sight online, so that the world sees our planet, the issues we face, and our place within it, in a new light.

The goal is simple: to put the spotlight on our planet and make it the most watched video in the world on March 27, so that as many people as possible hear the Earth Hour message.

Want to be a part of it? It’s easy. On the evening on March 27, Earth Hour will post a must-watch video on all their social media pages  – and all you have to do is share it.

Visit www.earthhour.org to find out more about events happening this Earth Hour around the world.

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